“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17
We recently studied the 10 Commandments in BSF (more to come on that later), and one that I was particularly struck by is the tenth commandment. My struggles with materialism and discontentment are well-documented on this blog, and I know covetousness is a temptation for me. When I was studying this commandment again, I started to think about what positive thoughts or actions should replace the sinful ones. That is, what thoughts should replace the sinful thought of coveting my neighbor’s house? (Or shoes. Or purse. I manage not to covet my neighbor’s donkeys, but I do covet their cleaning leady.)
I started to wonder what it would be like if, instead of feeling envy and discontentment, I could, by the power of the Holy Spirit, actually be happy for someone who has something I wish I had. Because to be honest with you, it has been a long time since I’ve walked into a lavish home and thought about how happy I am for the person who lives there. I know it will not come naturally to me, but it seems like a good way to battle covetousness.
God gave me an opportunity recently to apply this new lesson. I was visiting the home of a friend, and another friend warned me ahead of time that I should be prepared to envy her Christmas decorations. On the way to my friend’s home, I prayed and thanked God for my home and the Christmas decorations He has provided for me. (It sounds silly, but I really like Christmas decorations.) I prayed that I would be able to admire my friend’s decorations and sincerely be happy for her. And, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I had a wonderful time in her home and was able to enjoy her beautiful decorations in a much more joyful way.
So thank you to my friend who warned me about the upcoming temptation . . . and for those of you who see me regularly, could you please warn me when you have a fabulous new purse, adorable shoes, or new furniture, so I can properly prepare my heart not to envy you? I’m on the remedial track and need advance warning!Share